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Image Source: Vivienne Crow

Wander in Westmorland

Visit Appleby in Westmorland not for its bustling tourist attractions but to embrace its laid-back, sedate ambience. Wander its quaint streets, stroll along the riverside paths, and explore its charming nooks and crannies.

Historic Boroughgate

Appleby, or Appleby-in-Westmorland to give it its full name, is located on the banks of the winding River Eden. It sits near the base of the North Pennines‘ steep, western escarpment. Conveniently, it’s within easy driving distance of High Cup, a dramatic geological feature of the range. The main part of the town features a wide thoroughfare known as Boroughgate. This street rises steeply from the Church of St Lawrence to the Norman castle, perched on one of the highest points in Appleby. Boroughgate is flanked by lime trees and showcases a blend of Jacobean, Georgian, and Victorian architecture. Among its notable landmarks is St Anne’s Hospital, established by Lady Anne Clifford for local women unable to work due to illness. Additionally, the Moot Hall, dating back to 1596, is now the Tourist Information Centre.

Appleby Castle and Caesar’s Tower

Lady Anne Clifford led a significant reconstruction of Appleby Castle in the seventeenth century. However, its most remarkable feature, the impressive keep known as Caesar’s Tower, was originally built in the second half of the twelfth century. Visitors have the opportunity to join guided tours of the site. Additionally, they can enjoy B&B stays in historic bedrooms or book a cottage within the inner bailey. Not your typical holiday accommodation!

St Lawrence’s Church

At the bottom of Boroughgate, St Lawrence’s Church is entered via a Gothic, cloistered arcade. Inside, a black marble monument honours Lady Anne Clifford. Additionally, nearby stands a tomb chest, crowned with an alabaster effigy of her mother, a key ally in her relentless campaign to inherit her father’s estates.

The Appleby Horse Fair: A Centuries-Old Tradition

Each summer, Appleby in Westmorland hosts a massive horse fair – a tradition that goes back about 300 years. Each year, around 10,000 Travellers converge in Appleby to buy and sell horses and ponies. This event marks one of the largest gatherings of Gypsies and Travellers in all of Europe. The event attracts a large number of tourists eager to witness traditional horse-drawn caravans. They also come to watch animals being ridden into the river for washing or trotted at speed along ‘flashing lane’. Of course, Appleby offers a laid-back, sedate feel most of the year. However, during the horse fair weekend, this tranquillity is replaced with bustling activity.

Settle to Carlisle Railway and Beyond

Appleby, situated on the Settle to Carlisle Railway, lies near the busy A66 which conveniently bypasses it. The town is surrounded by attractions like Brough Castle, the stunning Lyvennet Valley with its limestone uplands, and High Cup. Additionally, the heritage Eden Valley Railway at Warcop and Rutter Force, a captivating waterfall on Hoff Beck, are easily accessible. You can reach Rutter Force from Appleby either on foot or by bike, covering about seven miles there and back. This journey takes you along field paths, riverside trails, and quiet country lanes. As you travel, keep an eye out for wildlife beside the beck, where you might spot kingfishers and red squirrels, amoung others.